Aspen soccer ends season with overtime win
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colo. – First, a missed call. Then, a Vail Mountain School score with 10 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. Aspen head soccer coach Junior Sutherland had to be thinking, “Here we go again.”
“How many overtime games have we played [the last two seasons]? Nine. How many have we won? One,” Sutherland quipped. “I told them to go out and do something about it.”
His Skiers responded, producing a golden goal in the first extra period to escape with a 2-1 victory – their third straight to close out the regular season.
Aspen, 7-8 overall and 3-5 in 3A Region 3, saved its best soccer for last. After dispatching 4A Palisade, 2-0, last week, the Skiers routed Colorado Rocky Mountain School, 8-0, in Tuesday’s home finale.
They impressed again Wednesday on the road – despite struggling on Vail’s turf.
“The field is tough. It’s that old-style turf and there are very bad bounces and the ball bobbles everywhere. We tried our passing game like last night and it was successful, but it frustrates you,” Sutherland said. “It definitely suits them best because they practice on it and play on it.”
Alex Ferreira lined up a free kick from about 30 yards out in the 60th minute, then lofted a shot that the Gore Rangers’ goalkeeper appeared to lose in the sun. The ball bounded into the net, breaking a scoreless tie.
It appeared as though that lead might balloon to two with about 10 minutes to play, when Ferreira was knocked down by the keeper in the box. No foul was called.
“It was a stonewall penalty. No question about it,” Sutherland said. “The goalkeeper flattened him. … Their coach came up after the game and said it should’ve been a red card.”
VMS seized the momentum, converting a header on a corner kick in the waning seconds of regulation to force extra time.
Aspen rebounded quickly, however. Ferreira lined a ball into the box that bounced around for a few moments before freshman John Heaphey knocked it into the net.
“The kids responded and did what we asked of them,” Sutherland said. “They definitely really worked hard and got rewarded. They’re a really young team. Next year, they’re going to give some teams a run for their money.”
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The planned NorAm Cup Finals, previously scheduled from April 5-16 at Highlands, have been canceled and will be replaced with the U.S. Alpine Championships starting the same date.